Avid: Sibelius UK office closes, jobs go at Pinewood

Industry insider confirms 30 positions are going at Avid’s UK HQ at Pinewood studios, while news emerges that the Sibelius UK office will close.
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Industry insider confirms 30 positions are going at Avid’s UK HQ at Pinewood studios, while news emerges that the Sibelius UK office will close.

An industry insider has confirmed to PSNEurope that 30 positions are to go at the Avid HQ in Pinewood, following Monday’s news that the company will be divesting its consumer products, namely M-Audio/AIR audio brands and Pinnacle video editing lines. Staff cuts across the company worldwide are projected to number 365 (20% of workforce).

Though not officially announced at a conference call with Avid executives on Monday, it has now emerged the Finsbury Park office for leading score-writing software Sibelius (purchased by Avid in 2006) will also be closed, with the loss of more jobs. This morning (Thursday), Avid spokesman Ian Bruce told PSNEurope, "Avid is closing its Finsbury Park site. However, we’d like to stress that this should not in anyway be confused with a diminishment in our commitment to Sibelius."

Avid bought Sibelius in 2006 for $23m from developers Ben and Jonathan Finn, who first devised the scoring programming for the Acorn computer in 1993. In response to news of the closure, composer Howard Goodall tweeted ‘appalling news: what do you get for inventing the world's best notation software? Nowt.’

The Monday announcement revealed that Numark parent InMusic has bought Avid’s M-Audio line of keyboards, controllers, interfaces, speakers and digital DJ equipment, and the AIR virtual instrument/plug-in Software Group. Video products, based on Pinnacle Systems technology, are being sold to Corel, based in Ottawa, Canada. The total sale was reported to be $17m before inventory corrections. Job cuts and “darkening facilities” should save the company a further $80m.Avid bought Pinnacle for $462m in 2005, and M-Audio for over $160m in 2004.According to respected blog Pro Tools Expert, a ‘personnel shakeup’ of the Pro Tools team in California sees former CEO of Euphonix, Martin Kloiber, leading Avid’s Audio and Control Surfaces division. Avid says, despite the consumer audio/video sell-offs, it will continue to develop and market its industry-leading Pro Tools line of software and hardware, as well as associated I/O devices including Mbox and Fast Track.

Kirk Arnold, executive vice president and COO on a listed compensation package of $3.8m, has stepped down and will not be replaced as part of the changes. CTO Tim Claman has also gone, according to Pro Tools Expert.With this week’s announcement, total jobs staff cuts at Avid number around 1,150 since October 2008. CEO Gary Greenfield’s compensation package rose from $1.2m in 2009 to $4.8m in 2011.News of the divestiture and targeted savings has increased the share price this week from around $7.50 to $8.20.




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